The Gray Eagles are a project of the U.S. Army (as opposed to the Air Force) and would directly support ground forces. They were first deployed when the Army sent four to Iraq in 2009 and another four to Afghanistan in September 2010.
The Pentagon plans to increase the fleet by 45 percent over the next decade despite the fact — or perhaps due to the fact — that it must cut $487 billion from its spending over the next 10 years and may face another $500 billion in cuts tied to the U.S. debt ceiling.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said in January that the new strategy for the military is a "smaller and leaner" force, implying that the number of personnel would drop but UAVs would become a larger priority.
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